Documentary film Quest/Keeping kids safe from guns

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The Raineys from the film Quest

What to look for on Smart Talk Friday, June 15, 2018: 

Monday night at 10 on WITF-TV,  POV presents the documentary film Quest.  The critically-acclaimed and multi-award-winning film follows a North Philadelphia family for 10 years.  Chris “Quest” Rainey brings hip hop artists from all over the city into his home studio giving them an opportunity to be creative instead of hanging out on the streets.  During that decade, his daughter grows into a teenager and is the victim of gun violence.  It’s a film about race and class in an urban setting.

Appearing on Friday’s Smart Talk to discuss important film are Director Jonathan Olshefski and Producer Sabrina Schmidt.

Also on the show, when your children go over to a friend’s house to play, attend a birthday party or just visit – how much do you know about where they’re going and the people who will there?  Are there pets in the home?  How about a swimming pool?  And what about a gun in the home and if so is it secure so kids can’t get to it? 

These may be tough questions to ask but the group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America is on a campaign encouraging parents to ask those questions.

Joining us on Friday’s program are Shari Jacobson and Mary Markle from the Central Valley chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

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Mary Markle & Shari Jacobson


Canadian official makes trade case

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Consul-General of Canada Phyllis Yaffee

What to look for on Smart Talk Thursday, June 14, 2018:

The tariffs on steel and aluminum imported to the United States have resulted in tensions between the U.S. and its largest trading partners.  After last weekend’s G-7 Summit made up of the world’s most prosperous Democratic nations, President Donald Trump lashed out at the Prime Minister of Canada Justine Trudeau.  After Trump complained of a trade deficit with Canada, Trudeau said Canada would not be pushed around and threatened tariffs on American products.

Trump angrily pulled the U.S. from an agreement signed by the other six nations and criticized Trudeau.

It’s an unusual bit of tension between two countries that have been the closest of allies and reliable trading partners. 

The Consul-General of Canada Phyllis Yaffee was in Harrisburg this week as part of an effort to work on trade between Canada and Pennsylvania.  She sat down for Smart Talk and the conversation airs on Thursday morning’s program.

Also, the impact of the opioid crisis is being felt in many aspects of American life and that includes schools.  The children of parents using opioids are dealing with a lot of uncertainty and chaos at home and it is affecting their education.

Health Smart: Education vs. Epidemic will be broadcast on WITF-TV Thursday night at 9.  Producer/Host Keira McGuire is on Smart Talk tell us about the crisis and the show.

Why have suicide deaths increased so dramatically?

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What to look for on Smart Talk Tuesday, June 12, 2018:

The Centers for Disease Control reported last week that suicide rates have increased — dramatically — across the country from 1999 to 2016.  The CDC said suicide rates went up in 49 states.  Nevada had a 1% decrease during that time period and was the only state without more suicides.

The suicide rate increased more than 34% in Pennsylvania during those 17 years.  That’s a substanial number of people taking their own lives. About 2,000 Pennsylvanians die from suicide each year. 

It’s a topic that should be discussed more, but often doesn’t get attention until a well-known person takes their own life.  Last week, designer Kate Spade and chef Anthony Boudain died by suicide and that has prompted a national conversation.

On Tuesday’s Smart Talk, we’ll ask why suicide rates have increased, the signs that someone may be thinking of ending their life and how and where to get help.

Appearing on the program are Govan Martin, Chair of the Board of Directors of the organization Prevent Suicide PA, Kelly Gollick, Executive Director of CONTACT Helpline in Central Pennsylvania and Perri Rosen, who is a school psychologist and Project Director of the Garrett Lee Smith Youth Suicide Prevention Grant.  She is employed by the Office of Mental Health Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) under the Department of Human Services.

If you or someone you know is in crisis or needs help, call

1-800-273-TALK (8255) or in Central PA, call 2-1-1. 

Sometimes you just need a friendly ear and someone to listen.

Dial 800-932-4616. 

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Kelly Gollick, Perri Rosen & Govan Martin

Road Trip to York Harley-Davidson

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What to look for on Smart Talk Wednesday, June 13, 2018:

There are very few brand names that are recognized around the world for their history, quality and prestige.  But Harley-Davidson motorcycles is one of those brands.  Started in the early 1900s Harley-Davidson quickly became a standard for motorcycles.  Those who own or ride Harley-Davidson motorcycles are as loyal to the brand as any consumers alive.  

So, a Smart Talk Road Trip to the Harley-Davidson Motor Company, Vehicle Operations in York is a treat.

On Wednesday’s Smart Talk Road Trip, we’ll discuss the iconic motorcycle, its history, what makes its reputation and what the future holds.

Guests include Amy Warner who leads Harley-Davidson’s Factory Tour Operation and Bernadette Lauer, Communications Manager at Harley-Davidson.

Meanwhile, York County bills itself as the Factory Tour Capital of the World and this week markes the 20th anniversary of the Made in America Tours Event.

More than 30 factories and artisans can be toured as part of this year’s event.

We’ll speak with Louise Heine of the York County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Chris Clark from Sunrise Soap Company and John Lloyd of MANTEC about the factory tours and manufacturing on Wednesday’s program.

Books to read this summer

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What to look for on Smart Talk Monday, June 11, 2018:

Have you made your vacation plans for this summer?  Whether you’re traveling to the beach or mountains or just lounging by the pool or staying cool in an air conditioned house, a good book is probably an essential part of your efforts to relax.

On Monday’s Smart Talk, we’ve assembled a panel to discuss what they’re reading and suggest a few books you may enjoy too.

Joining us on the program are Catherine Lawrence, a writer and owner of the Midtown Scholar Bookstore in Harrisburg and Travis Kurowski, Assistant Professor of English (Creative Writing and Publishing), York College of Pennsylvania.

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Catherine Lawrence and Travis Kurowski

We’d also like to hear about a few of the books you’ve read lately.  Call the program at 1-800-729-7532 or email us at

All literary genres are welcome including novels, short story collections, mystery thrillers, historical fiction, or romance.  Our panel will even offer ideas on books of poetry.  Current best-sellers, classics, or paperbacks — we’re open to all suggestions with a brief synopsis as well.

ACA rate hikes almost 5% more in PA/Capitol week-in-review

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What to look for on Smart Talk Friday, June 8, 2018:

One of the main complaints about the Affordable Care Act since its inception was that health insurance premiums on the exchange got more expensive every year — increasing by double digits.  Most people who purchased insurance through the exchanges didn’t pay full price due to their incomes but those with incomes that didn’t qualify for assistance were hit hard by rising premiums.

The Pennsylvania Insurance Department announced this week that rates would go up in 2019 by an average of 4.9%.  That’s considered good news compared to previous years.  States surrounding Pennsylvania will see increases above 20%. 

Meanwhile, 31 of the state’s 67 counties will have more insurers offering plans.

About 5.6% of Pennsylvanians don’t have health insurance.  The Insurance Department says that’s the lowest rate ever. 

State Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman appears on Friday’s Smart Talk to explain.

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Commissioner Jessica Altman

Also, WITF’s Capitol Bureau Chief Katie Meyer is with us on Friday to discuss the on-going state budget negotiations and other news from the Capitol, including Republican Sen. Scott Wagner resigning his seat to run for governor full time.

Preserving PA history

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What to look for on Smart Talk Thursday, June 7, 2018:

How often have driven into a city or town to be greeted by a sign that said “Welcome to historic” whatever the name of the city or town is?  Some places’ history is obvious because they played a significant role in the state or the nation’s history, but there are others that may be historic if only because they contributed to how that place grew or the architecture or landscape are unique.

So how is it decided what history to preserve because everything probably is significant to someone?  

The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission has a new historic preservation plan designed to help Pennsylvanians better understand historic preservation and its benefits; appreciate their own and shared histories through historic places, and to use history to understand how to manage change within their communities.”

We’ll discuss historic preservation on Thursday’s Smart Talk with Andrea Lowery, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.

We’ll also talk about tax credits for historic preservation, historic markers and how it’s decided where to locate them, summer events in Pennsylvania and historic tourism. 

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Andrea Lowery, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission


Science behind early childhood education/Volcanoes

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What to look for on Smart Talk Wednesday, June 6, 2018:

Our Babies, Our Future: The Science Behind Early Childhood Education for Children and Families is an event that scheduled for next Friday, June 15th in Chambersburg.  Promotions for the event says that “each and every person has the opportunity to impact the future of Franklin County.”  But how and why is this event and early childhood education so important? 

Appearing on Wednesday’s Smart Talk are Karen Grimm-Thomas, Director of External Relations, Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning and Franklin County Commissioner Bob Thomas

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Karen Grimm-Thomas and Franklin County Commissioner Bob Thomas

The spectacular video of the Kilauea volcano eruption in Hawaii has captured the world’s attention.  Kilauea may not be the largest or most dangerous volcano, but the video has provided views inside and outside the volcano of lava and its flow that many have never seen before.  Then, the Fuego volcano erupted Sunday spewing rock and ash that killed at least 69 people. 

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Dr. Ben Edwards

Dr. Ben Edwards, Professor of Earth Sciences at Dickinson College is an expert on volcanoes and especially their interaction with glaciers.  

Your weather questions answered like when will it stop raining?

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What to look for on Smart Talk Tuesday, June 5, 2018:

Whether we realize it or not, most of us get into a conversation about the weather every single day — even if it’s just small talk when greeting someone. Let’s face it — what happens outside influences what we do and how we live — a lot.

Not surprisingly then, many of us have questions and our own theories about the weather. Tuesday’s Smart Talk will be devoted to answering your questions about “the weather,” as we all seem to refer to it.

Lately, many of us have asked, “When will it stop raining?”  There were 11 straight days of rain in the middle of May and it was one of the wettest Mays in years.  There was rain every weekend in May.  It continued last Friday night in some areas where more than four inches of rainfall was recorded that led to flash flooding.  The forecast for this week actually calls for a few days of sunshine but then more showers later in the week.

Temperatures were above normal in May too — topping out at 90 degrees on May 26.

So what’s behind this weather pattern and when will it end? 

Those are just a few of the short-term weather questions we’ll have for meteorologist Eric Horst, Director of Millersville University’s Weather Information Center on Tuesday’s Smart Talk.

We’ll pose a lot of more them and take your questions too.

Sen. Mike Folmer talks redistricting/’93 Harrisburg Senators

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What to look for on Smart Talk Monday, June 4, 2018:

One of the top stories almost halfway through 2018 is Pennsylvania’s how and where Pennsylvania’s Congressional district boundaries are drawn.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled in a lawsuit brought by the League of Women Voters that the state’s Congressional boundaries were gerrymandered after the last census to make it easier for the majority party – Republicans — to win elections.  The justices on the Democratically-controlled court decided they didn’t like alternative maps submitted by Republicans or Gov. Tom Wolf and endorsed a map of their own. 

Many Republicans howled that the Court had overstepped their bounds by creating new districts. 

The whole episode had many from both parties calling for reform. 

Republican State Senator Mike Folmer of Lebanon County has a plan to do just that. It calls for an 11-member panel made up of a four Democrats, four Republicans and three independents to construct the legislative map.  Sen. Folmer appears on Monday’s Smart Talk

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Senator Mike Folmer

Also on the program — perhaps one of the best teams in minor league baseball history was the 1993 Harrisburg Senators that won 50 more games than they lost and sent 22 players to the Major Leagues.  Eight of those 22 spent in at least 10 years in the big leagues. 

Andrew Linker, author of the new book The Class of ’93 – How One Baseball Team Wrecked an Entire League joins us on Smart Talk.

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Author Andrew Linker